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DEP and FWC respond to record BP settlement, applauds Gulf Coast recovery progress

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

BP has agreed to pay a record $18.732 billion to resolve claims by five Gulf States of violating the Clean Water Act, harming natural resources, and other economic damages from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

As a part of the agreement announced Thursday, Florida will receive at least $3.25 billion. The overall deal has BP on the hook for more than $3 billion above the $43.8 billion initially set aside for dealing with the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

Payments will be in addition to the $28 billion BP already spent on clean-up response, remediation and compensation.

Both the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission took credit as lead state agencies in the effort to restore the environment and recreational opportunities affected by the three-month spill.

DEP Secretary Jon Steverson released a joint statement Thursday morning with FWC Chair Brian Yablonski.

“This agreement in principle will help Florida’s communities to recover from the economic and environmental damages suffered after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill,” Steverson said. “We look forward to working with Governor Scott, Attorney General Bondi, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and local communities to continue to implement environmental and recreational restoration projects and ensure that our Gulf Coast remains that best place to live, work and visit.”

“We are pleased with this progress toward ultimate resolution with BP,” Yablonski added. “The Commission looks forward to the day the settlement funds can be put into restoring key habitats for fish and wildlife and help support the economies of coastal communities that are so closely tied to these resources.”

According to the deal, payments will be spread out over 18 years, with a record $5.5 billion covering federal penalties under the Clean Water Act. The previous highest penalty was $1 billion.

Payments for damages will be split among Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas, and Louisiana.

“This agreement will resolve the largest liabilities remaining from the tragic accident,” BP Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said in a statement first reported by Bloomberg Business. “For the United States and the Gulf, in particular, this agreement will deliver a significant income stream over many years for further restoration of natural resources and for losses related to the spill.”

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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